I am not ashamed to admit that in a few short months I will be turning 30. Now, some of you are thinking 30!? You’re young – just wait until you’re 50!
What is it with age and our culture? When did getting older become a bad thing? Why are we as women in particular so obsessed with not just our age but looking young?
It started with some “gentle” exfoliants to slough off dead skin cells and “harmless” night creams that plump up the skin. Then it went to plastic surgery, and of course we cried out – No! Plastic surgery is bad! So instead we developed methods where we inject ourselves with plumping chemicals and scrape our skin off with sandpaper to reveal the “young” skin underneath. And I go right along with it.
You know, I’ve never really worried about getting older – or at least, that’s what I tell myself. But then, in conversation with other women, I find myself purposefully making comments about age, like, Well, I’m a lot older than you, so I need to hurry up and have more kids. Of course, older is drawn out so that it’s almost three syllables. Or there’s the derisive What are you, 23? I used to roll my eyes and disdain these comments! When did I fall into the trap that says God didn’t mean for us to age!?
Although I’ve been wrinkling since I was in my early 20s, I felt so awesome I didn’t care. And my family has these baby faces that never look “old” (seriously, my mom still gets carded). Giving birth must have an effect on facial skin, though, because I aged rapidly in the few months after having Samuel. Or maybe it was the 4 hours of sleep I got every day. Either way, I looked in the mirror as a new mom and thought, “Woah. Wrinkles. Discoloring. The Works.” And just the other day, I looked in the mirror and noticed my eyelids are starting to droop over my eyes. And it got me thinking, This should not bother me. But it does bother me on some level – and it’s absolutely…
- Not important
- Not Godly
- Not Biblical!!
I have to say, I really love King Lemuel’s mama. She says a wife “of noble character” is more valuable than precious rubies. This wife is a hard and shrewd worker, she’s up all night (got that one down), she’s strong but compassionate, she’s well dressed (better work on this) – but her clothes are “strength and honor” (yeah, still need to work on that). And mama concludes with:
Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. (NETBible, Proverbs 31:30)
Even worse, focusing on looking young (or thin or pretty or tall) takes away from our true devotion – worshiping God. As a Christ-following woman, I need to be an example to my culture. When other women are talking about being old, instead of joining in, what about reminding them that God created us to age on purpose? Or that their husbands still think they’re the most beautiful woman on the planet? Now this is particularly for Christian women who have Jesus at the center of their worldview. For women who don’t yet follow Christ, can I be an example? Can I share with my neighbor the struggle I’ve gone through with this? And that God created her exactly how He wants her? I hope so.
Share in the comments how feeling the need to look a certain way has impacted your spirituality.
Amazing God, You are the creator of beauty. You created me exactly how you want me, and you intended me to age and for my body to change. Help me to reject the lie that says I’m not beautiful in Your eyes – and that I need to constantly be doing something to improve my external appearance. Instead, God, will I open up my soul to you? Will I allow You to scrub off the dead to reveal the newness that You bring? Direct me in this way.